A joint Maori-Chinese trial to grow sea cucumbers in New Zealand waters has suffered a setback.
The first experiment in Marlborough has ended with all the sea cucumbers dying.
The venture involves Yantai-based Oriental Oceans and two Maori businesses - the Whakatohea Maori Trust Board and Wakatu Incorporation.
Wakatu's chief executive Keith Palmer says the experiment is still on-track, and the deaths are part of learning.
He says the marine animals were put in a tank that wasn't properly cured.
Mr Palmer says it's a setback, but that's why research and development is done.
He says anyone who does a trial without some hiccups is very lucky.
Sea cucumber is revered by Chinese people for its medicinal properties, and is an expensive delicacy in China.